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Emjaye McDonald, Emerson College

As I looked over the program for today at the IABD conference, I found myself somewhat overwhelmed by the sheer number of and variety of different panels. It was really difficult to pick where to go, but I ultimately ended up bouncing back and forth between multiple panels. Some of the most fascinating of these were the public diplomacy panel this morning and then the sports marketing and organizational communication panels this afternoon. Shannon Felton gave her presentation, "Your International Boston," which highlighted her efforts to debunk popular stereotypes amongst international cultures. Her project is unique and genius in that anyone, anywhere in the world, can share their thoughts about popular stereotypes by uploading their own YouTube video to her site (www.operationdebunk.wordpress.com).

Her presentation was followed by Genevieve Gearity and Katie-Coral Sicora's "Live in Hope." These two ladies are working to connect amputee soccer players in Sierra Leone with soccer player in the United States through an online collaborative forum. This specific project is gaining a lot of traction. They will soon be featured on Channel 5 news in Boston. Alex Pearson, Jeff Beam and Evan Chapman presented an overview of their organization "International Arts Exchange Program," an organization that works to connect art students from around the world. Steph Costa explained her efforts to bring together international students to produce coverage of the upcoming World Cup.

All in all, these presentations were amazing. The audience was clearly impressed and inspired with their efforts. I'm so proud to be a part of this group! Another great presentation by Giselle Gundron (University of Texas at San Antonio) analyzed the response by Domino's Pizza to a recent video scandal and the organizations ability to "channel anger into action." What I found particularly great about this project was Gundron's emphasis on the complications of social media and the need to develop new strategies to confront these complications. Traditional, by the book crisis communication no longer applies to all crises.  In the sports marketing panel, Ric Jensen from the University of South Dakota and Felix Abeson of Coppin State University gave two, very thought provoking presentations. Jensen, in his work with Nick Bowman and Yawei Wang, has been exploring the response of fans to the placement of advertisements on the uniforms of athletes. His research suggests that MLS fans are much more open to the advertisements on uniforms than their NFL, NBA or MLB counterparts. The group suggested a number of interesting explanations.
The focus then turned to Abeson's presentation. Felix Abeson gave an insightful look at the infrastructure of professional boxing and the negative effects of the system on boxing's reputation. Among other suggestions, Abeson suggests that colleges begin implementing boxing into their athletic programs and that multiple sanctioning bodies be centralized into a single body. Abeson's work is exceptional in that it is the the only scholarly literature that approaches professional boxing from a marketing perspective. This day, and the conference thus far, was utterly wonderful! I can't believe that we have to leave tomorrow!
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